Learner Autonomy and Identity in a Language Classroom in Uzbekistan: A Case Analysis

Conference: The Barcelona Conference on Education (BCE2021)
Title: Learner Autonomy and Identity in a Language Classroom in Uzbekistan: A Case Analysis
Stream: Learning Experiences, Student Learning & Learner Diversity
Presentation Type: Live-Stream Presentation
Supriya Banerjee, Amity University, Uzbekistan


This paper proposes to delve into socio-psychological aspects of introducing a short story of Anton Chekov to students of Uzbekistan at Amity University in Tashkent in TEFL/TESOL classroom. The classroom referred to in this case study comprises of young adult learners pursuing a degree course to improve their career prospects in their country as well as the United States of America or the European Union. The introduction of short stories forms a part of the pedagogical process to provide a scaffolding to students to more intensive language learning programmes as a short-term process, and to introduce them to the reading classical texts from major canonical English literature in English language as a long-term course objective. As a teacher and facilitator, the selection of Anton Chekov to the classroom in Tashkent city seemed to be a natural choice as it is written by a Russian author, who is well known and read extensively in the CIS regions. However, years of hegemonization and panopticon usurpation of Uzbek culture and history has left a scar with the young generation of students who take it upon themselves to rectify the situation. As they battle with socio- economic development of the nation, there is a constant push and pull towards bringing their small histories to the forefront. As Uzbekistan falls plonk in middle of the silk route, and has a very rich cultural heritage, the association with a Russian author in a classroom is therefore met with hostility and challenge. The deconstruction of the idea of a teacher as a fence sitter who introduces the idea of canon and the periphery in English literature while maintaining individual neutrality meets with a resistance against border patrolling. The idea of inclusivity and diversity while discussing small histories becomes vital to reach out to introduce students to reading and listening.

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